When asked, I tell people that I did sail my Hans Christian 38 on a 7 year solo voyage around the world. The truth, though, is that my Flemming vane did most of the sailing. It worked flawlessly in all kinds of condition and didn't draw any power. No kidding...it was the best piece of gear on my boat and it never broke or shorted out. Unless you don't intend to go blue water cruising, I suggest you keep the vane and install it. Contact Kevin Fleming in San Diego or try www.flemingselfsteering.com
I know the vane looks intimidating but it follows the same principle as all servo-pendulum vanes. With a little thought, you should be able to understand how it works whether you reach Flemming or not. The problem most sailors have with vanes once installed is patience. Sailors who are use to auto pilots and who dial their boats on a course of say 270 like to sit back and watch the auto pilot maintain that course within-in a degree. A vane,however, requires trimming sails first and even when balanced the boat may swing from 265 to 275. This often drives some auto pilot type sailors crazy. Truth is, though, that all wind oscillates. A vane follows the wind. Thus the boat sails a lazy 'S' course off the wind. The course averages out to be the same 270 with the added benefit that you are always sailing at the best angle to the wind in relationship to how you originally trimmed your sails. Thus a vane will always sail faster than a boat under auto pilot, andn also lessen the chance of the unplanned gybe. The exception being are pilots that can sail by a wind indicator in addition to a internal compass. Still, I only carried one vane on my circumnavigation while most of the boats I met with auto pilots had two, three and sometimes four spare auto pilots. They always seemed to breakdown when they were needed the most...in big winds and waves. In those conditions my Flemming became stronger.
Aboard Mika, my HC 38 I spent 7 years sailing alone around the world. For photos visit: cruisingdreamspress.com